GENESIS 17
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1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk before me, and be thou perfect. Fellowship with Yahweh

Melchizedec, king of Jerusalem, was the Priest of the most high Ail, whom he understood and proclaimed to be the Possessor of the heavens and the earth." . . ."Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all called upon the Possessor of the heavens and earth by the word Ail-Shaddai: which in Gen.17:1-He bestowed upon himself, saying Ani-Ail Shaddai,-walk before me, and be thou perfect."

"Shaddai, signifies mighty or powerful ones. Several appeared to Abraham, and three of them at one time condescended to partake of his hospitality. Their power is tremendous when they

choose to exert it upon the wicked, as in the instance of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, cities of the plain: but toward the heirs of salvation, they are ministering spirits, beneficent and good" (Heb. 1:14; 13:1).

"But by what were these Shaddai so powerful that they could stand by cities, and send them into the abyss profound?-was it by their own power, or by the power of another?-By the power of another certainly: even by His power who is higher than they."

"Therefore the Possessor of the heavens and the earth announced himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Ail-Shaddai, or the Strength of the Powerful Ones, whose might he had witnessed in the destruction of the plain."

Yahweh Elohim - Ch1

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8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their Elohim.


ABRAHAM THE HEIR OF THE WORLD.

Abraham and Christ are inseparably associated as co-heirs of the covenant of promise. Hence, they, are joint-legatees of the country mentioned in the will. But, out of this rises a question of considerable interest, namely, when they jointly possess the land of Canaan, what will be their relation to the world at large?

The answer to this is, that at that time their name will be great in the earth; Abram's decendants will be a great nation; and he and Christ will be a blessing, by all the families of the earth being in them. This was stated in general terms when the gospel was preached to Abraham at Haran.

In searching out these matters the phrases "in thee" and "in Him," and "in thy Seed," should be particularly attended to. They are little words but full of meaning. The reader knows what it is to be in a house, and he is aware that he must pass into it before he can be in it. This is literal. Now, suppose we call the house a man; and in answer to the question, where is he? we say he is in the man, this would be to speak figuratively; but still Scripturally and intelligibly.

Before, however, a person, or a nation, or a multitude of nations, could be said to be in the man Abraham, and in the Man Christ Jesus, it is equally clear that they must pass into Abraham and into Christ. Now although many nations may literally come out of one man, a multitude of nations cannot literally be packed into one man. When, therefore, nations and individuals are said to be in Abraham and in Christ, it is manifest, it must be in a figurative sense.

Hence, "in thee," "in Him," and "in Christ." are figurative expressions, or terms of constitution. They are things of stubborn import. They do not express a feeling, but a relationship which is predicated on belief and obedience.

These are literal and actual things; for there is no Scriptural faith without belief of the letter, or written, or spoken, word; nor any obedience without conformity to prescribed action. To pass, or to be introduced into a man, is to sustain a relationship towards him of faith, affection, and allegiance, as prescribed. No person, or nation, can introduce themselves into a man; their induction, in other words, must be according to prescription, and not according to their own appointment.

God, or He to whom as His Substitute He has committed all authority, is the only person that can prescribe the formula of induction. Mankind are diseased, and cannot cure themselves. "The blessing of Abraham" is for their restoration to health and happiness. They are, therefore; the recipients of favour, and not the prescribers, or legislators, in the case. The nature of the inducting formula is determined by the kind of subject to be induced.

If the subject to be passed into Abraham and Christ be an individual, the formula is spiritual; that is, it places him in a moral and domestic, or family, relation to them: but, if the subject be a nation, or a multitude of nations, then the formula is civil and ecclesiastical, or political.

A person in Abraham and Christ (and a man cannot be in one without being in the other) is the subject of adoption by a spiritual formula, which will be perfected in "the redemption of his body" at the resurrection; while nations in Abraham and Christ are adopted by a political formula, which is perfected in the blessings of good government, peace, equitable laws righteously administered, the enlightenment of all classes in the knowledge of God, universal prosperity, and so forth.

The formula of spiritual adoption is exhibited in the gospel. It requires a man to believe "the promises made of God to the fathers" concerning the land of Canaan, the Christ, the blessedness of the nations in Abraham and his Seed, eternal life by a resurrection, &c.; and to be baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

When an individual has done this, he is in Abraham, and Christ, and an heir with him of the promises he believes. So that "the Seed," though spoken of one person, that is, of Christ, comprehends all the believers of the promises, who by adoption are "in Him." The phrase, "the Seed" is therefore used in an individual and federal acceptation. Hence, whatever is promised to Abraham and Christ is also promised to their federal constituents -- to the sons of Abraham, and brethren of Christ, by adoption into the family of God.

But, the formula of national, or political, adoption, has not yet been promulgated to the world. No people has ever been politically in God but Israel. The natural descendants of Abraham in the line of Isaac and Jacob, became the people of God in a national sense, by the adoption provided in the Mosaic law. But no other nation before or since has ever stood in the same relationship to Him...

...But a time is coming when the anti-christian, mahommedan, and pagan, nations of the world, will all become the people of God, and, therefore, Christian...[see Isa 19:23 & Psa 72:6-11,17]

...According to this testimony it is proved that the nations, or families, of the earth will become the people of God, as well as Israel, who will have the pre-eminence among them as the inheritance of the Lord; and so Israel and the nations will constitute a kingdom and empire, which will then compose "the world," and be blessed in Him and Abraham; whose subjects will reciprocate the benefits bestowed upon them, and serve their God-like rulers with heart felt loyalty, and blessings upon His name for ever.

Elpis Israel 2.2.




10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

THE TOKEN OF THE COVENANT

It was fourteen years after the confirmation of the covenant, and when Abram had attained the age of ninety and nine, that the Lord appeared to him to repeat His promises, and to appoint the token of the covenant. On this occasion, God talked with him, and changed his name from Abram to Abraham, as an everlasting memorial that He had made him heir of the world, by constituting him a father of a great multitude.

"Behold,"

said God,

"My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I constituted thee."

And besides this constitutional fatherhood, the Lord assured him that though so old, he should be prolific of multitudes which should descend from his own loins.

"I will make thee"

said He,

"exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee; and kings shall come out of thee."

The Lord then announced that the covenant He had confirmed should be established between Him and Abraham, and his fleshly descendants in their generations for an everlasting covenant; and that He would be a God to him and to them. He also again declared His oft-repeated promise, saving,

"I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Gen. 17:1-8).

In the passage from which this is taken, God says,

"I will make My covenant between Me and thee;"

and afterwards, "behold My covenant is with thee. The "will make" refers to a covenant subsequent to that confirmed fourteen years before. That to be made was the token of that which was already made; and

"the seal of the righteousness of the faith which Abraham had when it was counted to him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:11).

"This," said God,

"is My covenant which ye shall keep, between Me and thee and thy seed after thee: every man-child among you shall be circumcised; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you, Abraham."

The appointing of this token in their flesh was the establishment of the covenant with Abraham's seed in the time of Isaac and Jacob in their generations. When, therefore, Israelites behold the mark in their flesh it reminds them that they are

"the children of the covenant which God made with their fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed" (Acts 3:25);

that the land of Canaan, all of it, is promised to them for an everlasting possession; but that an everlasting possession in it can only be attained by belief of things promised in the covenant being counted to them for righteousness in the way of God's appointment.

They know, or rather ought to know, that the sign of circumcision and the Mosaic law, can give them no title to the everlasting occupancy of Canaan, either as individuals or as a nation.

It is circumcision of the heart, of which circumcision of the flesh is but the sign of the circumcised heart of Abraham, that confers a title to the land and all its attributes. Before Israel can inherit the land for ever, and so be no more expelled by "the horns of the Gentiles," they must "circumcise the foreskin of their hearts, and be no more stiff-necked;" and

"love the Lord (Jesus) their God with all their heart, and with all their soul, that they may live " (Deut. 10:16; 30:6).

Elpis Israel 2.2.



At the command of God, Abraham severed all his connections with his home and his native land, and went forth in simple faith, "not knowing whither he went."

Abraham's outstanding characteristic was faith. He is presented to us as the pre-eminent example in this respect -- "The Father of the Faithful." Faith that hesitated at nothing and rose triumphant above every obstacle and natural sentiment and desire.

It is one thing to be so vividly convinced of God's closeness and reality as to be able to defy universal opinion and -- dropping everything -- to follow an unseen Voice through strange, wild lands for 1,000 miles with no idea of the destination or perils of the way.

It is an even far greater thing to wait more than twenty-five years in that alien land for even the first beginnings of the fulfillment of the promise that had drawn him forth. What were Abraham's thoughts as year after year rolled by, each one making the realization of the promise appear even less possible? He waited in faith.

Then, finally, when he was ninety-nine, God appeared to him again and said the promise of a seed was about to be fulfilled, (Gen. 17:16). Genesis 17:17-18 --

"Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before Thee!"

Does this mean that Abraham's faith wavered? Paul says of this very occasion --

"And being NOT WEAK IN FAITH, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbeliel, but was STRONG IN FAITH, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was also able to perform" (Rom. 4:18-21).

Why then, after God has just specifically promised a son to Sarah, did Abraham laugh, and then say,

"Shall a son be born to him that is an hundred years old? ... 

O that Ishmael might live before Thee!"

The Scriptures show us the conflict of Abraham's faith -- the tremendous strain that was continually placed upon it -- and the way in which it rose above every trial. Not without stumblings, but with constant renewal. God can distinguish between failure, and the working out of an inner struggle -- although often man cannot. Abraham's faith did not operate effortlessly or automatically. He did not wait with serene and placid unconcern. He had to extend every effort to steel his faith against the natural tendencies of doubt and discouragement, and impatience and weariness of waiting.

Faith had already carried him far, but still it was an effort of the Spirit against the flesh. How much finer and more inspiring Abraham's faith appears when we see its inner struggle! How much closer we feel to him!

The example of Abraham would be valueless to us if his faith were something that took over mechanically like an automatic pilot and guided him without effort. It was something that he himself had to put to use by diligent application and prayerful effort. And he did, and won out, and so became the father of all who follow in his steps.

Bro. Growcott - Shall A Child Be Born?